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Mid-Atlantic - conversations about US, UK and world politics

Chit chat about politics and culture in the US and UK


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  • The Global Peace Index 2024

    44:29
    In this episode of Mid Atlantic, host Roifield Brown takes on the heavy subject of global peace—or the lack thereof—in 2024. The discussion opens with a grim statistic: conflict-related deaths in the first four months of the year have reached 47,000, potentially setting a record since the Rwandan genocide. Brown is joined by Thomas Morgan, who discusses the findings of the 18th Global Peace Index (GPI). Morgan explains the GPI's purpose and methodology, noting a general decline in global peacefulness over the past 16 years.Morgan outlines the three domains of the GPI—safety and security, ongoing conflict, and militarisation—highlighting the technological changes and geopolitical shifts contributing to increased conflicts. He emphasises the rise of asymmetric warfare and the increased involvement of non-state actors. The discussion also touches on specific conflicts in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Gaza, Myanmar, and Haiti, illustrating the complex, multifaceted nature of modern conflicts.Brown and Morgan also discuss the contrasting paths of El Salvador and Haiti regarding gang violence and governance, noting the former's controversial yet effective short-term strategies. They explore the balance between reducing violence and maintaining civil liberties, with Morgan asserting that long-term peace is typically achieved through democratic means rather than authoritarian measures.Finally, the episode provides a detailed look at the top and bottom countries in the GPI, with Iceland, Ireland, Austria, New Zealand, and Singapore being the most peaceful, and Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Ukraine being the least. The UK and US are examined for their rankings and inherent issues, including violent crime and geopolitical involvement.Relevant Quotes"The overall trend of peacefulness is a negative one. We've seen a deterioration in the level of global peacefulness over the past 16 years." – Thomas Morgan"The rise of asymmetric warfare and new technologies like drones makes it easier for smaller states and insurgent groups to be involved in conflict." – Thomas Morgan"Conflicts now tend to fizzle out or become frozen, rather than ending decisively as they did in the past." – Thomas Morgan"El Salvador's approach to reducing violence through mass incarceration has been effective short-term, but the challenge is ensuring sustained peace." – Thomas Morgan"It's possible to achieve a certain amount of peace through authoritarian measures, but long-term peace is more likely in full democracies with respect for civil rights." – Thomas MorganFurther ReadingGlobal Peace Index 2024For those interested in deeper insights, head over to Vision of Humanity and explore the comprehensive reports that Thomas Morgan mentioned. If you enjoy this podcast, consider supporting it on roifield.Substack.com or leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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  • The week after Trump's guilty verdict and Farage enters the race

    43:17
    In the latest episode of "Mid Atlantic," host Roifield Brown is joined by a global panel including Z Cohen Sanchez from Arizona, Logan Phillips from Washington, DC, Dave Smith from London, and Mike Holden from Burnley. The discussion kicks off with the unfolding UK election campaign, highlighting Nigel Farage's return to frontline politics and the anticipated leaders' debate. The panel dissects Farage's impact on the Conservative Party and the potential electoral consequences of his bid to become an MP in Clapton.Dave and Mike debate the significance of Farage's comeback, emphasising the potential devastation to the Conservative vote. They analyse whether Reform Party votes will translate into parliamentary seats and discuss the broader implications for the Tory party's future. Logan provides a snapshot of current UK polls, showing a significant shift in voter sentiment towards the Reform Party and away from the Conservatives.The conversation then shifts to the aftermath of Donald Trump's recent conviction and its impact on the US political landscape. Logan Phillips discusses the polling implications, noting a slight uptick for Biden but emphasising the need for more data to fully understand the trends. The panel also explores the potential long-term threat posed by Trump's candidacy and the broader challenges facing American democracy.Quotes from the Episode:"Farage's comeback is the worst news Rishi Sunak has had in the last 48 hours." - Mike Holden"A 400-seat majority in Parliament is not a healthy thing. It will lead to real problems in terms of scrutiny and what the government does." - Dave Smith"Biden looked very old and not exciting during the primary debates, but at least now, both him and Trump are of similar cognitive ability." - Z Cohen Sanchez"The no audience part of the debate format is the greatest political bear trap that's been laid recently." - Dave Smith"Trump's speech after the verdict was incomprehensible. His declining cognitive abilities are catching up with him." - Roifield Brown
  • UK Election Week One

    22:03
    In this episode of Mid-Atlantic, Roifield Brown, broadcasting from sunny Birmingham, is joined by a distinguished panel of political analysts to dissect the latest political turmoil in the US and UK. Representing London is Dave Smith, Logan Phillips joins from Washington, D.C., and Corey Bernard contributes from Manchester, England.UK Election Season Kickoff:The episode focuses on the first week of the UK election season, announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.Rishi Sunak's Rocky Start:Dave Smith describes Sunak's initial week on the campaign trail as disastrous.Missteps include awkward public appearances, such as standing in the rain, posing by the Titanic, and a mishap in a supermarket.Labour Party's Cautious Strategy:The panel discusses Labour's cautious approach, characterized by avoiding bold statements and focusing on not making mistakes.The shadow chancellor's reluctance to identify as a socialist and the deselection of left-wing MPs are highlighted.Polling Analysis:Logan Phillips provides an analysis of UK polling data, showing Labour's consistent lead over the Conservatives since late 2021.Current polls suggest a significant Labour majority if the election were held today.General Election Expectations:Corey Bernard predicts a boring election season, with both major parties being unexciting and overly cautious.The panel debates whether the British public desires stability and boring politics after years of tumultuous events like Brexit and COVID-19.National Service Proposal:The controversial proposal by the Tories for national service is discussed, with Corey Bernard labeling it a gimmick aimed at older voters.The proposal is seen as an attempt to stem voter loss to the reform party.Nigel Farage's Media Presence:The panel questions why Nigel Farage continues to receive significant media attention despite not running in the election.Labour's Internal Dynamics:Keir Starmer's leadership and his approach to managing the left-wing faction within Labour are scrutinised.The potential consequences of Starmer's strategy on the party's unity and election prospects are debated.Minor Parties' Influence:The potential impact of minor parties like the Greens and SNP on the election is discussed.The possibility of Labour losing seats in London due to their stance on Gaza and other issues is considered.
  • Trump’s Guilty Verdict: What Now?

    40:21
    Historic Accountability: For the first time, a US president has been held accountable by the justice system. The significance of this verdict in the context of American history and democracy was a major point of discussion.Political Ramifications: The panel explored how this conviction might affect Trump’s political career and the upcoming election. Opinions varied on the extent to which the verdict will impact Trump’s base and the broader electorate.Legal Consequences: Despite the historic nature of the verdict, there was consensus that the actual legal consequences for Trump might be limited, possibly avoiding prison time due to the nature of the crimes and his status.Future Implications: The discussion also touched on how this verdict might influence future presidents and politicians, emphasizing the importance of accountability and the rule of law in maintaining democratic norms.Public and Media Reactions: Immediate reactions from public figures like Biden and Trump Jr. were shared, highlighting the polarized nature of American politics. The media’s role in shaping public perception of this verdict was also considered.Notable Quotes:“We have to have rules. And we have to have a society where justice means something where character means something.” - Denise Hamilton“A criminal judgment inherently reduces whoever the person is that has it. Nobody comes away from it with enhanced stature.” - Jared Kobach“If you are explaining, you are losing.” - Aram Fischer“This isn't about Republican or Democrat. This is about crime and you shouldn't do it and we should have a culture.” - Denise Hamilton“This is a man who has never been held accountable. The first time he was held accountable at all.” - Aram Fischer
  • Understanding Iran And how It Works

    52:09
    In this episode of Mid Atlantic, dissects Iran's intricate power structures and its enduring protests, with significant implications for both Iran and the broader Middle East. The discussion pivots around the death of Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's president, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader since 1989. The episode features insights from Jason M. Brodsky, policy director of United Against a Nuclear Iran, and Henrik F. Rasmussen, executive director of the Institute for Science and International Security. The guests delve into the workings of the morality police, the enforcement of Islamic dress codes, and their impact on civil liberties. They also explore the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) role in Iran's political and military strategies and Iran's technological and nuclear capabilities. Jason provides a comprehensive overview of Khamenei's rise to power, his extensive bureaucratic reach, and the supreme leader's strategic decisions. He also elaborates on the Iranian protests following the death of Mahsa Amini, the persistent dissatisfaction among the Iranian populace, and the cyclical nature of protests against the regime.Henrik offers a detailed analysis of Iran's nuclear ambitions, the JCPOA nuclear deal, and the international community's divided stance on Iran's nuclear program. He highlights Iran's technological advancements in missile and drone technology and its strategic cooperation with Russia, posing significant implications for regional and global security. The episode concludes with discussions on the "axis of resistance," Iran's alliances with militant groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis, and the strategic interplay between Iran, Russia, and other regional actors.Quotes"Khamenei has been the glue of the system, holding it together through his extensive bureaucratic reach and strategic decisions." — Jason M. Brodsky"Iran's youth are completely alienated from this system, yearning for a different life free from oppression and economic hardship." — Jason M. Brodsky"Iran's nuclear program claims to be civilian, but the facts on the ground suggest a clear military intent." — Henrik F. Rasmussen"The axis of resistance is designed to encircle Israel in a ring of fire, exhausting its resources and deterring its operations." — Jason M. Brodsky"Iran's cooperation with Russia extends beyond military support, impacting European security through technological exchanges and nuclear developments." — Henrik F. RasmussenFurther ReadingUnited Against Nuclear IranInstitute for Science and International SecurityJCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) OverviewInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reports on Iran
  • Sunak's Surprise July 4th Election Move

    44:46
    In a twist that has left political pundits and voters alike scrambling, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for a UK general election on July 4th. This unexpected announcement comes at a time when many believed the election would be delayed until November. The move has sparked a flurry of reactions and speculation about the motivations behind such timing.Key Insights from the EpisodeShock and Speculation: Steve O'Neill, expressed his surprise at the timing, noting that many expected a November election. Tonye Altrade, suggested that recent economic news, particularly regarding inflation, might have influenced Sunak's decision.Labour's Preparedness: The general consensus among the pundits, including Mike Holden and Corey Bernard, is that the Labour Party should be ready for this early election call. Keir Starmer's calm and pragmatic response indicates that Labour is poised for the challenge, despite the unexpected timing.Impact of Voter ID Laws: The discussion also touched on the new voter ID laws, a controversial topic that could potentially disenfranchise certain voter demographics, notably the young and economically disadvantaged. This issue, reminiscent of similar debates in the US, adds another layer of complexity to the upcoming election.Conservative Party Dynamics: The panel speculated on the internal dynamics of the Conservative Party and the potential candidates for leadership post-election. The focus was on whether the party will shift further to the right or see a resurgence of One Nation Tories.Electoral Strategy and Policy: The conversation highlighted the strategic moves both major parties need to make in the coming weeks. Labour's stance on Gaza and the Middle East, as well as the Conservative Party's handling of immigration and economic issues, will likely play crucial roles in swaying public opinion.Memorable Quotes"Even throughout until about midday today, I was saying no, it'll be November. Everyone's getting overly excited. But I was completely wrong." - Steve O'Neill"This is his best shot at it. I don't know if it's going to be enough, but it is worth a gamble." - Tonye Altrade"First off, I don't even think you should be holding the election on July 4th, but let's leave that aside for now." - Mike Donoghue"I think the Labour Party should be raring to go, then it, that would be a disaster." - Corey Bernard"Every picture that you've seen has been a sodden looking downbeat man." - Mike HoldenFurther ReadingBBC News: Rishi Sunak Calls July 4th ElectionEconomist Report: UK Economic Indicators and Election Timing
  • In Glen's Steps: A Journey with Dementia.

    03:24
    In Glen's Steps: A Journey with Dementia is a deeply personal and heartfelt podcast series that explores the impact of dementia on Glenroy Brown, a man of remarkable character, and his family. Through candid conversations, personal reflections, and expert insights, we share the journey of his life, from his early years in Jamaica to his current experiences with dementia. This series offers an intimate look at the challenges, changes, and unexpected joys that come with living with this condition, providing support and understanding to families facing similar challenges.